Lampard rescues City once again
FA Premier League
Thursday 01 January 2015, 15.00 KO
City: Caballero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy, Fernandinho, Toure, Silva (Milner 90), Nasri (Kolarov 85), Navas, Jovetic (Lampard 70)
Unused: Hart, Boyata, Sagna, Sinclair
Goals: Toure (57), Jovetic (66), Lampard (73)
Booked: Nasri, Zabaleta
Referee: Roger East
Man of the match: Yaya Toure
After the disappointing draw at home to Burnley, Manchester City hosted Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium. It was the chance for City to temporarily go top of the league, with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea playing Spurs later that evening. Manuel Pellegrini opted for Willy Caballero in place of Joe Hart, and Gael Clichy over Aleksandr Kolarov. In midfield, Yaya Toure started alongside Fernandinho, with Nasri, Navas and Silva in front. Upfront, Stevan Jovetic was given the nod.
The first half was a rather dull affair, with the hosts unable to break down a rigid Sunderland defence, with former Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon not really having a save to make. Sunderland's best chance of the first half came from a free kick by Sebastian Larsson, which was well saved by Caballero.
The second half was following a similar pattern to the first until the57th minute, when Yaya Toure crashed home an unstoppable drive from twenty five yards, after good work from Stevan Jovetic. The goal sprung the game into life, with Sunderland now showing more willingness to get forward. City continued to keep the ball, and soon doubled their lead through Jovetic, who nonchalantly flicked Gael Clichy's cross past a despairing Pantilimon to double the home sides lead.
What followed was seven minutes of mayhem. Firstly, Sunderland found themselves back into the game as Jack Rodwell flicked in Larsson's corner, before Pablo Zabaleta fouled Billy Jones to give the away side a penalty. Up stepped another former City player in Adam Johnson, who sent Caballero the wrong way to level the scores.
Unlike the Burnley result though, City did manage to retake the lead. Frank Lampard was again the hero, heading in Clichy's cross to give Pellegrini's side the lead. Despite more pressure and dominance, City couldn't add another goal to give to calm nerves in the stadium, but held on to secure a vital three points.